Region Finals Preview: Classes 5A thru 7A
We were 6 up and 2 hiccups on Tuesday night. Jacksonville Raines and Miami BT Washington both exacted revenge for district final losses. BTW was especially close, a one point win over last year’s region finalist Gulliver Prep.
Best Matchup: For the third year in a row, Oxbridge Academy must play Tampa Catholic to get to Lakeland. The last two years, Kevin Knox led TC, but he is now doing his thing at Kentucky. Oxbridge should have the edge in experience and talent but the road is a tough place come playoff time.
Best Chance for an Upset: Raines has to go on the road to a one-loss Pensacola Catholic team. We’ll see if the Vikings strength of schedule will have them prepared for a six hour road trip to a daunting place to play or if Catholic’s record is built on sand.
Pensacola Catholic over Jacksonville Raines
Ocala Trinity Catholic over Melbourne Central Catholic
West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy over Tampa Catholic
U-School over Miami BT Washington
Just a 5-3 mark left us disappointed. Ribault got revenge on the road while both Ridgewood and Booker played the role of spoiler. Our instincts were correct when we identified Ridgewood over Nature Coast as an upset opportunity but color us shocked at Leesburg’s 25 point margin of victory in their game against Rockledge.
Best Matchup: Tally Rickards against Jax Ribault carries a lot of significance in the African-American community. Expect this one to sell out and be an intense game.
Best Chance for an Upset: A young Stranahan team gets to host reigning champ Leesburg in South Florida on Friday night. Stranahan starts four sophomores and a junior while Leesburg has a ton more experience on their side. Still, the road is often unkind to favorites.
Tallahassee Rickards over Jacksonville Ribault
Palatka over New Port Richey Ridgewood
Sarasota Booker over Cape Coral Mariner
Leesburg over Stranahan
We actually feel pretty good about going 6-2 in our forecast for Tuesday night. The surprises were Cape Coral and Doral Academy winning on the road. Friday night is set to have a series of games that could go either way.
Best Matchup: Thanks to Gainesville’s win on the road, they will host Choctaw on Friday. Choctaw didn’t fare so well last year under the same circumstances when they travelled to Ocala Vanguard. This year’s Choctaw team is a year older and should be more prepared for the situation this time around.
Best Chance for an Upset: Doral won on the road, so now they get to host Northeast. Doral has lost only two games all season, but a win at Norland gives them major cred. Northeast has played one of the toughest schedules in the state so it is unlikely that Doral will throw something at them that they haven’t seen.
Gainesville over Choctaw
Hillsborough over Daytona Beach Mainland
Lehigh over Cape Coral
Oakland Park Northeast over Doral Academy